Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

What is Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease?

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the build up of fat in the liver that is not attributed to alcohol consumption. NAFLD occurs in both adults and children.

NAFLD is the most common liver disorder in children and has increased more than doubled over the last two decades. NAFLD affects what is estimated to be about 100 million Americans.

NAFLD includes a wide spectrum of liver damage. Amount these are uncomplicated steatosis (fatty liver), nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and advanced fibrosis (scar tissue). If liver damage progresses too far, it can lead to cirrhosis, which can cause liver failure and loss of liver function.

Experts are still studying what causes NAFLD, but some scenarios make you more likely to develop NAFLD. Conditions include:

  • Being overweight or obese

  • Insulin resistance

  • Elevated blood lipids such as cholesterol and triglycerides

  • Having a metabolic syndrome

  • High blood pressure

In children, insulin resistance is an almost universal finding in NAFLD. Several conditions are associated with insulin resistance such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, hypertension, obstructive apnea, and gallstones.